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District One Stresses
Shop-Floor Leadership

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.

The union’s local leaders should recognize their responsibility to recruit and develop new leadership from the shop floor, said District One Pres. Connie Spinozzi in remarks that set the tone for the UE District One Council meeting here May 1-2.

"Our job as leaders is not only to lead but to teach the importance of unionism and its role today," Spinozzi declared. "Leadership must be active and exercised at every local of a local."

Delegates participated in workshops and prepared for the upcoming UE National convention.

Mike Arrison, Local 155, praised the education provided by the National union at the regional organizing schools concluded last month. "This is something that everyone should go to," Arrison suggested, adding that he enjoyed home visits the most. (Home visits are made by organizers to the homes of unorganized workers to talk about the advantages of joining a union.)

The district council approved submission of two resolutions — "Organize the Unorganized" and "Build the Labor Party" — to the National convention.

REAL POLITICAL CHOICE

UE Genl. Pres. John Hovis told delegates there is a genuine need for a political alternative when less than 50 percent of the potential electorate registered to vote and less than 60 percent of those registered bothering to vote. Is it really democracy when such large numbers of Americans are so disillusioned? Hovis asked.

People don’t vote because they don’t see a choice, he said. The Labor Party is that choice, the UE president asserted. Decades of corrupt politics as usual must end, and we can it through the vote, through education and mobilization, Hovis said.

The union leader warned that deflation threatens workers with either outsourcing or speedup, as employers try to overcome the effects of lower prices. Whether the economy experiences inflation or deflation, workers are the victims of those in control who are motivated by pure and simple greed.

HEALTH CARE & POLITICS

Delegates discussed how to build the Labor Party from the ground up in a workshop on organizing Labor Party clubs led by Intl. Rep. Carol Lambiase.

The district council considered health-care bargaining strategies in a workshop led by Intl. Rep. Bruce Klipple. Locals should actively shop for providers themselves, counseled Klipple. Often employers come to the table with proposals on health insurance involving unfamiliar providers. We have to go to these insurance companies and make them understand they should deal with the union, Klipple said.

Delegates also discussed the scandal of 42 million Americans without insurance, for-profit hospitals, mergers and spectacular pay increases for health company executives.

District Pres. Spinozzi was elected to represent the district at the UE National convention in August and at the Labor Party convention in November. The district council elected Maken Dodge, Local 123 to the position of trustee made vacant by the resignation of June Shirey, Local 124. The council recognized Shirey’s many years of dedicated service to the union.

UE News - 06/98


Home -> UE News -> 1998 Archives -> Article

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